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Eothen, or Impressions of Travel brought Home from the East

Eothen, or Impressions of Travel brought Home from the East by Alexander Kinglake

A classic of Victorian travel writing, Kinglake’s book describes his journey through the Ottoman empire to Cairo, and his residence there in time of plague.

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At Semlin I still was encompassed by the scenes and the sounds of familiar life; the din of a busy world still vexed and cheered me; the unveiled faces of women still shone in the light of day. Yet, whenever I chose to look southward, I saw the Ottoman’s fortress—austere, and darkly impending high over the vale of the Danube—historic Belgrade. I had come, as it were, to the end of this wheel going Europe, and now my eyes would see the splendour and havoc of the East.

The two frontier towns are less than a cannon shot distant, and yet their people hold no communion. The Hungarian on the north, and the Turk and Servian on the southern side of the Save are as much asunder as though there were fifty broad provinces that lay in the path between them. Of the men that bustled around me in the streets of Semlin there was not, perhaps, one who had ever gone down to look upon the stranger race dwelling under the walls of that opposite castle. It is the plague, and the dread of the plague, that divide the one people from the other... Continue reading book >>

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